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A trick is any behavior a pet bird does that an owner has connected to a cue.


As a training term, a “trick” is any behavior an animal does that a trainer has connected to a cue, such as turning around, raising a foot or wing, etc.


Trick training can make living with a parrot (or other animals) much easier. For instance, instead of risking a bite every time you try to feed your food-motivated Amazon parrot, teach it to sit quietly on an upper perch while you change food bowls. Train a territorial macaw to step onto a hand-held perch so you can easily move it to a play gym prior to servicing its cage, thus avoiding a potentially nasty confrontation. Teach a very frightened bird that lovely things happen when it just touches your finger, taking a step toward teaching it to trust you.

But one of the most valuable lessons from trick training is to show the novice trainer just how poorly he/she is communicating. If your parrot does not learn to, for instance, turn around on cue, we know it is not because the bird is not smart enough, after all. Honing your training skills means honing your communication skills, which is a benefit not just with your parrot!


There are a variety of useful books and videos out there that can get you started. Workshops are held around the country. When it comes to this type of training, the only limits are your patience, time and creativity.

Disclaimer:’s Bird Behavior Index is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your bird’s health if you suspect your pet is sick. If your pet is showing signs of illness or you notice changes in your bird’s behavior, take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.

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Reader Comments
I've trained my bird to play dead when the doorbell rings and someone comes in. That way I can bring in my guest and excitedly tell them I want to show them my cool bird, then when I get over there I'm like, "Ohhhh no... crap. I knew he shouldn't have eaten that thing." Then my guest is feels bad and starts telling me they're sorry for my loss, then the bird jumps up and starts acting normal again.
Melvin, Burgersburg
Posted: 1/26/2014 9:00:34 AM
Trick training takes patience, but is well worth the effort.
Elaine, Darien, IL
Posted: 9/9/2010 4:25:29 PM
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